The comedy of ringtones

Basic rule of etiquette that I think needs to be plastered across the head of invitations to academic conferences:

TURN OFF YOUR CEL PHONE BEFORE THE PANEL BEGINS, or at least put it into silent or vibrate mode!

This is important enough with the basic ringtones that ship pre-installed into cel phones these days. A cel phone going off during an academic talk is very disruptive, whether it's an audience-member or a panel-member (more embarrassing if you're on the panel, I think). but nowadays, since it's easy to download customized ringtones, and since modern cell phones are increasingly able to play mp3s that sound surprisingly lifelike, a phone call can be announced by a snippet of the latest pop hit by whomever -- or an older hit, like the call that came in a few minutes ago to a woman in the audience and was announced by Britney Spears belting out "hit me baby one more time." General amusement all around, and the woman practically died of shame as she bolted from the room to silence the phone and to take the call.

The moral of my small story is easily stated: TURN OFF THE DAMN CEL PHONE. Sheesh.

[Says Professor Jackson, busily typing and blogging away in the audience of an academic session -- but I think that's less intrusive. Maybe I'm wrong.]

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